Water Watch

Since 1992, Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s Water Watch mobilizes a committed network of citizens to make a difference for their local streams and communities. Water Watchers are “on-the-ground” trained investigators for the Delaware River and its tributary streams. Equipped with skills, tools, and persistent vigilance, Delaware Riverkeeper Network Water Watch detects pollution and helps diagnose the health of our expansive living River when no one else is watching. Working together with communities, agencies, and universities, using sound science to gather information, and capitalizing on the dedication of our staff and trained volunteers, Water Watch gathers the information necessary that helps build a strong science foundation for effective pollution detection and control, advocacy, and on-the-ground actions that lead to clean streams, healthy communities, and thriving natural areas.

Water Watch Toolbox

With a diverse watershed spanning four states and a multitude of living habitats, and with numerous historic and emerging threats to the River, DRN’s Water Watch is a multi-faceted monitoring program that selects appropriate methods from an assorted set of tools and protocols to best fit the unique needs of the River. From counting the populations of important wildlife like the ancient horseshoe crabs of the Delaware Bay, to assessing the smallest headwater streams to document abuse by adjacent landowners, assessing the headwaters with baseline monitoring to thwart gas drilling, or monitoring polluted runoff from urban land during storm events, DRN Water Watchers are out there!

Water Watch Pollution Hotline

Even if you are not a trained Water Watcher, your family and your community can do tremendous good for the watershed you live, work, commute, and play in every day. Just by being vigilant! If you see suspicious activity or suspect pollution on the land or in the water, document the exact location and activity with dated photos (smart phones are a monitors best friend) and report the problem to the appropriate agency and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network pollution hotline number. Save our hotline number and local agency numbers in your cell phone so their handy when you need it!

  • 1-800-8DELAWARE

Download Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s pollution hotline contact list.

How can you be a Water Watcher?

Want to get started to assess a local stream in your community? You can start by getting familiar with your local stream by performing a stream walk visual assessment. Send your data and photos to Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s Water Watch. Remember, you are often the only eyes and ears for your local stream so your observations are critical. Follow the link below for more details.

(DRN/EPA Stream Walk assessment)

Water Watch Resources and Toolkits

Below a sampling of resources that our Water Watch program uses to collect important data.

DRN Monitor Protocols & Resources
(Volunteer Code of Ethics and Permission Form)
(Gas Drill Watch-Dog Protocols)
(Gas Pipeline Watch-Dog Protocols)
(Adopt-A-Buffer Toolkit)
(Water Watch Water Quality Protocols)
(Visual Assessment Monitoring Tools)
(Dr. SWAT Oil Spill Toolkit)

To learn about Water Watch opportunities, internships, and trainings in your community and beyond, contact Faith Zerbe, Water Watch Director at 215-369-1188 ext: 110 or email faith@delawareriverkeeper.org.

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DRN Success Since 2007, Water Watch and the data we collect has:

  • Alerted officials to over 170 incidents where pollution was injuring local streams
  • Petitioned agencies for stream upgrades for stronger protections
  • Trained 85 watershed groups and over 3,000 residents how to test the health of their streams
  • Helped present data at over 55 hearings and town meetings to ensure the best protection of local streams

Check out what's going on in the watershed.

Remember the River

Remember the River CampaignThe Delaware is the longest undammed river east of the Mississippi, flowing freely for 330 miles as it travels from New York state, through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware to the Atlantic Ocean.

Our Remember the River campaign is a tribute to the Delaware. Learn more about this campaign.

Request a Speaker

Did you know DRN is available to speak at events?

The Delaware Riverkeeper as well as representatives of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network are available to speak about the Delaware River watershed, the threats it faces and our efforts to protect it. Speaker's fees for Delaware Riverkeeper Network staff generally start at $250, but vary depending upon the length of the presentation, the type of function being held, and the financial capabilities of the host organization. Speaker's fees are designated as donations to the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. Part of the operating budget, they help Delaware Riverkeeper Network to champion the rights of the River and its streams as members of our community.

Request a Speaker Now
Email us at drn@delawareriverkeeper.org to request a speaker. Review topics and speaker bios.

Download Speaker Request Form (PDF File).

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